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Children’s Mental Health Week
4th February 2019 @ 8:50 am - 8th February 2019 @ 3:15 pm
This week is National Children’s Mental Health Week, which you may see being celebrated in the news. At Hartlebury, we really do place children’s mental health at the heart of what we do and we work really hard to support your child to develop positive mental health behaviours, strategies and experiences, that will set them up for life.
The theme of this year’s campaign (run by Place2Be – a children’s mental health foundation) is “Healthy: Inside and Out” and, as a school, we will be having a focus this week on supporting to children to understand how they can develop their healthy body and their healthy mind. Throughout the week, there will be assemblies, PSHE lessons, yoga/meditations sessions and opportunities for children to engage in physical activities and mindful activities such as art, music, reading etc. We will also be talking to the children about different strategies to manage their feelings if they feel unhappy, worried, stressed or angry; thinking about the different people they can talk to and helping them to develop a growth mindset, which aims to empower children and reduce these feelings in the first place by encouraging them to frame their thinking in a way that focusses on the positives, on what they can achieve and on what makes them who they are. Every afternoon, the children will be engaging in at least one activity/lesson relating to the “Healthy: Inside and Out” theme – this might be PE, a healthy eating lesson, meditation, mindfulness activities, PSHE, a circle time discussion, art, music etc.
When thinking about keeping our bodies healthy, we will be focusing on physical activity and healthy eating this week as we explore the links between a healthy body and a healthy mind. We therefore ask that you only send healthy snacks for your child at break and lunch time. We will be discussing and celebrating the healthy snacks children choose from the fruit bowl (if they are in Key Stage One) or that they bring with them in Key Stage Two.
We are also running a “Healthy Cooking” competition across the week. To enter, your child needs to cook a healthy meal with you at home and bring/email in a photograph of what they have made (either just the dish itself or the family sitting down to enjoy it). The photograph must have their name on and a sentence explaining why their meal was healthy. You could make a healthy snack, drink, lunch, dinner or even a three-course banquet – the decision is yours! It would be really great if the whole family could sit together to enjoy the meal together, without phones and televisions as there is so much evidence that sharing meal times has a really positive effect on children’s (and adult’s!) mental health as it is time away from technology, with people that you care about, to stop and talk and share time together.
The competition will close on Wednesday 13th February, when all entrant names will be put into a hat for a prize draw during praise assembly on Friday 15th February to win a series of healthy eating-related prizes (cookbooks, aprons, children’s kitchen utensils etc). Entries can be given to your child’s teacher or emailed to the school office email@example.com. Good luck and happy cooking!
There is lots of research at the moment about the importance and value of walking, for children’s physical and mental health. As well as improving their fitness, going for a walk also allows children to experience the calming benefits of being outside, breathing in fresh air, being away from technology and sharing time with their families to talk and bond. It would be lovely if you could try and make some time this week, and every week, to go on a walk with your child, however long or short, talking together and sharing in this great exercise, for the body and the mind.
Below are some sources of guidance that may be useful in supporting your child’s mental health, but if you need any more advice, please speak to your child’s teacher, who will be happy to help.
If you are worried about your child’s mental health: https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/for-parents/parents-survival-guide/
Place2be supporting your child’s mental health: https://www.place2be.org.uk/what-we-do/parent-carer-resources/supporting-your-childs-mental-health.aspx
NHS advice on helping your child to sleep: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/healthy-sleep-tips-for-children/
NHS healthy food and exercise advice: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/healthy-weight-children-advice-for-parents/
NHS Change4life sugar smart: https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/food-facts/sugar
We all know that sometimes life does not always go as we planned. If you yourself are in need of any mental health support or feel that you might need some additional support at home or as a family, again please speak to your child’s teacher. We also have links with the Wyre Forest and Hagley project which works to support families with a range of challenges such as sleeping, eating, family circumstances, bereavement, stress, break-ups, behavioural support and so on. Miss Gledhill can provide you will a card for Caroline Hallam, who is our Wyre Forest and Hagley Project representative. She can give free advice over the phone and also works to support families in person over longer periods when this is required.
We really hope that your child gains and benefits from this week, in addition to the mental health support, we already provide in school and hope that you use this opportunity to talk to your child about their thoughts, feelings and how they manage when things are tricky or don’t go as planned. It is also important to celebrate with them how special they are, what they have achieved and what makes them unique and amazing!
If you have any other questions or would like any other support, please ask. We are all in this together!